LA Times Crossword 19 Oct 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Craig Stowe
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Ster in Something

Themed answers are common phrases with -STER added to the end of the first word:

  • 16A. Physician for Dickens’ Miss Havisham? : SPINSTER DOCTOR (from “spin doctor”)
  • 25A. Station for exercisers on wheels? : HAMSTER RADIO (from “ham radio”)
  • 43A. Expert guard dog? : MASTER BARKER (from “Ma Barker”)
  • 56A. Cool cat’s affectionate friends? : HIPSTER HUGGERS (from “hip-huggers”)

Bill’s time: 9m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Trendy : A LA MODE

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

14. Catch-22 : PARADOX

“Catch-22” is a novel by Joseph Heller set during WWII. The title refers to absurd bureaucratic constraints that soldiers had to suffer. Heller’s “Catch 22” was invoked by an army psychiatrist to explain that any pilot requesting to be evaluated for insanity, to avoid flying dangerous missions, had to be sane as only a sane man would try to get out of such missions. The term “catch-22” has entered the language and describes a paradoxical situation from which one can’t escape due to contradictory rules; one loses, no matter what choice one makes.

16. Physician for Dickens’ Miss Havisham? : SPINSTER DOCTOR (from “spin doctor”)

Miss Havisham is a character in the novel “Great Expectations”, by Charles Dickens. Miss Havisham is a wealthy spinster who as a younger woman fell in love with a man named Compeyson. Sadly, Compeyson was a swindler who defrauded her and left her at the altar.

18. Morales of “Ozark” : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

“Ozark” is a TV crime show starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as a married couple who relocate from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. The couple fall foul of Mexican drug lord after a money laundering scheme goes awry. The show is set at lake resort in the Ozarks, although filming actually takes place at lakes in the Atlanta area in order to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia.

19. Canada’s Buffy Sainte-Marie, by birth : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a musician, artist and social activist whose work focuses on issues faced by Native American peoples. Sainte-Marie was born on a Plains Cree First Nation Reservation in Canada, but grew up with adoptive parents in Massachusetts. One of her more famous compositions is the Joe Cocker song “Up Where We Belong”, which she co-wrote. That earned Sainte-Marie a Best Original Song after it was used in the 1982 movie “An Officer and a Gentleman”.

20. Math functions : SINES

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio: a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

22. Fleur de __: sea salt : SEL

Fleur de sel is form of sea salt that forms as a thin crust on the surface of seawater as it evaporates. It is now used mainly as a finishing salt in the cooking process, meaning that it is sprinkled on the surface of a dish just before it is served. The name “fleur de sel” translates from French as “flower of salt”, which is a reference to the flowery patterns that form in the salty crust as seawater evaporates.

23. Clever remarks : MOTS

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

25. Station for exercisers on wheels? : HAMSTER RADIO (from “ham radio”)

The rodents known as hamsters are commonly kept as house pets. Male hamsters are called bucks, females are called does, and baby hamsters are known as pups.

Amateur radio enthusiasts were first called “ham operators” by professional telegraph operators, and the term was intended to be insulting. It came from the similar term “ham actor”, describing a person who is less than effective on the stage. But amateur operators eventually embraced the moniker, and so it stuck.

29. Earth tone : OCHER

Ocher is a light, yellowy-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.

32. Ancient colonnade : STOA

A stoa was a covered walkway in Ancient Greece. A stoa usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.

A colonnade is a long sequence of columns that are equally spaced, and often support some type of roof. A colonnade surrounding a porch at an entranceway is known as a portico. A colonnade surrounding a courtyard or the perimeter of a building is known as a peristyle.

34. Diamond figure : RHOMBUS

“Rhomb” is an alternative name for a rhombus (plural “rhombi”), a 4-sided figure with sides of equal length and angles at the corners that aren’t right angles. So, that would make a rhombus a “diamond” shape.

39. “… this night, being __ my head”: Shak. : O’ER

The following are some lines spoken by Romeo about Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous play:

She speaks.
O, speak again, bright angel! For thou art
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,
As is a wingèd messenger of heaven
Unto the white, upturnèd, wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-puffing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.

42. Soft touch : PATSY

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar, who always got the blame when something went wrong.

43. Expert guard dog? : MASTER BARKER (from “Ma Barker”)

Ma Barker was the mother of several children who became notorious criminals in the early thirties. Collectively they ran what was known as the Barker Gang and plied their trade in the US Midwest.

47. Foil relative : EPEE

There are three fencing events in the modern Olympics, with each distinguished by the weapon used:

  • Foil
  • Épée
  • Sabre

48. Couple : DUAD

A duad is a pair, with “duad” coming from the Greek “duo” meaning “two”.

49. Andean stew veggie : OCA

The plant called an oca is also known as the New Zealand yam, even though it isn’t a true yam. The tubers of the oca are used as a root vegetable.

52. Rapper Ice Cube’s first name : O’SHEA

Rapper Ice Cube’s real name is O’Shea Jackson Sr. Since the year 2000, Ice Cube has gradually moved away from rap music and focuses more on acting. The 2015 movie “Straight Outta Compton” tells the story of the gangsta rap group N.W.A., of which Ice Cube was a member. Ice Cube co-produced the film, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. played his real-life Dad on screen.

55. Zipcar parent company : AVIS

Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

Zipcar is a carsharing company. Carsharing differs from car rental in that cars are available only to members, but 24 hours a day as opposed to office hours. There are other differences, including the fact that members are usually responsible for leaving cars gassed up and clean for the next user.

56. Cool cat’s affectionate friends? : HIPSTER HUGGERS (from “hip-huggers”)

Hip-huggers are low-rise pants or skirts, so called because they fit tightly around the hips rather than the waist.

59. Texas oil city : ODESSA

The city of Odessa, Texas has as its symbol the jack rabbit. This is because from the thirties through the seventies the city hosted a rodeo for roping rabbits. The Humane Society applied pressure and the city did away with the tradition in 1977.

Down

1. Stained glass settings : APSES

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

5. Has too much : ODS

Overdose (OD)

6. One involved in a memorable “bubble” : DOTCOM

The dot-com bubble was a phenomenon seen in 1997 to 2000 during which speculation led to the overvaluation of poorly-understood Internet stocks. The bubble burst on March 10, 2000. Within ten days, the value of the NASDAQ was down by over 10%.

10. Selfies, e.g. : PICS

A selfie is a self-portrait, usually one taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

11. Ancient region ruled by Athens : ATTICA

The historic region of Attica is home to the city of Athens. Attica comprises a peninsula in the southwest of the country that juts out into the Aegean Sea. As a result, the region is sometimes referred to as the Attic peninsula.

17. Score marks : RESTS

That would be a musical score.

21. Soul singer Robinson’s debut album : SMOKEY

Singer Smokey Robinson started his musical career in 1955 when he formed a singing group called the Five Chimes in his native Detroit. The group’s name changed to the Matadors in 1957, and eventually to the Miracles. In 1959, Robinson married Claudette Rogers, who was in the Miracles lineup at the time.

23. Material for Michelangelo’s “David” : MARBLE

When Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a “warning glare”. David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, Rome. The original statue of David can be seen in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where it has resided since 1873. There is a replica of the statue in its original location in the public square outside of the Palazzo della Signoria.

27. Pal of Piglet : ROO

Hundred Acre Wood is where Winnie the Pooh lives with his friends. According to a map illustrating the books by A. A. Milne, Hundred Acre Wood is part of a larger forest, with Owl’s house sitting right at the center. Piglet also lives in the Hundred Acre Wood, in a beech tree next to a sign that says “TRESPASSERS W”. Piglet says this is short for Trespassers William, which is his grandfather’s name.

29. Words from a balcony : O ROMEO

In William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, the lovers discuss the sad fact that they have been born into two feuding families in the famous balcony scene. Juliet says:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

Romeo’s reply includes the famous lines:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

31. Baseball, in old slang : HORSEHIDE

The official balls used in the sport of baseball were traditionally covered by horsehide. The covering was switched to cowhide in 1974.

35. Former Mideast gp. : UAR

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a union between Egypt and Syria made in 1958 and dissolved in 1961 when Syria pulled out of the arrangement.

38. __ value : PAR

In days gone by, when companies first issued a stock, each share would be given a face value (called “par value”). In effect, the company was making a commitment not to issue any more stock under that par value, giving investors confidence that there was no better deal to be had. Nowadays, most stock is issued without such a “guarantee” and is called “no-par stock”.

41. Control tower device : RADAR

Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

44. Mobile home? : TEEPEE

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

46. Islands VIP : KAHUNA

Like many words in Hawaiian, “kahuna” has several English translations, everything from a priest to an expert in some profession. The expression “the Big Kahuna” comes from the 1959 movie “Gidget”. The Big Kahuna was the leader of one of the surfing gangs in the film, and was played by Cliff Robertson.

49. Some Viking appliances : OVENS

Viking Range is a manufacturer of kitchen appliances that was founded in 1987 and is based in Greenwood, Mississippi.

50. “Odyssey” sorceress : CIRCE

Circe is a minor goddess in Greek mythology. The goddess of magic, she was fond of transforming those who did not please her into animals by using magical potions.

“The Odyssey” is one of two epic poems from ancient Greece that is attributed to Homer. “The Odyssey” is largely a sequel to Homer’s other epic, “The Iliad”. “The Odyssey” centers on the heroic figure Odysseus, and his adventures on his journey home to Greece following the fall of Troy. We now use the term “odyssey” to describe any long series of adventures.

53. Kind of D.A. : ASST

District Attorney (DA)

55. Líquido para café : AGUA

In Spanish, “agua” (water) is “líquido para café” (liquid for coffee).

57. “The Cocktail Party” monogram : TSE

T. S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, largely due to his “Four Quartets”, a set of four poems that Eliot himself considered to be his life’s masterpiece. He also won a Tony Award in 1950 for Best Play, for “The Cocktail Party”, as well as two posthumous Tony Awards in 1983 for his poems that are used in the musical “Cats”.

“The Cocktail Party” is a 1949 play by T. S. Eliot. During Eliot’s lifetime, “The Cocktail Party” was the most popular of the seven plays that Eliot penned. Today, Eliot’s most celebrated work for the stage is his 1935 play “Murder in the Cathedral”.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Trendy : A LA MODE
8. No longer outstanding : REPAID
14. Catch-22 : PARADOX
15. “Am I the problem?” : IS IT ME?
16. Physician for Dickens’ Miss Havisham? : SPINSTER DOCTOR (from “spin doctor”)
18. Morales of “Ozark” : ESAI
19. Canada’s Buffy Sainte-Marie, by birth : CREE
20. Math functions : SINES
22. Fleur de __: sea salt : SEL
23. Clever remarks : MOTS
24. Sedate : CALM
25. Station for exercisers on wheels? : HAMSTER RADIO (from “ham radio”)
29. Earth tone : OCHER
32. Ancient colonnade : STOA
33. “Disgusting!” : ICK!
34. Diamond figure : RHOMBUS
37. Play seriously : COMPETE
39. “… this night, being __ my head”: Shak. : O’ER
40. Hideout : LAIR
42. Soft touch : PATSY
43. Expert guard dog? : MASTER BARKER (from “Ma Barker”)
47. Foil relative : EPEE
48. Couple : DUAD
49. Andean stew veggie : OCA
52. Rapper Ice Cube’s first name : O’SHEA
54. Clothes to clean : WASH
55. Zipcar parent company : AVIS
56. Cool cat’s affectionate friends? : HIPSTER HUGGERS (from “hip-huggers”)
59. Texas oil city : ODESSA
60. State : ENOUNCE
61. Waver : TEETER
62. Computer input : DATA SET

Down

1. Stained glass settings : APSES
2. Slip : LAPSE
3. Type similar to Helvetica : ARIAL
4. Nail treatment : MANI
5. Has too much : ODS
6. One involved in a memorable “bubble” : DOTCOM
7. Puts forth : EXERTS
8. Tease : RIDE
9. Juan’s “that” : ESO
10. Selfies, e.g. : PICS
11. Ancient region ruled by Athens : ATTICA
12. Small portion explanation : I’M ON A DIET
13. Ones neglecting their duties : DERELICTS
17. Score marks : RESTS
21. Soul singer Robinson’s debut album : SMOKEY
23. Material for Michelangelo’s “David” : MARBLE
25. Train bottom : HEM
26. Series-ending abbr. : ETC
27. Pal of Piglet : ROO
28. Stepped (up) : RAMPED
29. Words from a balcony : O ROMEO
30. Unsportsmanlike conduct : CHEAP SHOT
31. Baseball, in old slang : HORSEHIDE
35. Former Mideast gp. : UAR
36. Member of the fam : SIB
38. __ value : PAR
41. Control tower device : RADAR
44. Mobile home? : TEEPEE
45. Hurried : RUSHED
46. Islands VIP : KAHUNA
49. Some Viking appliances : OVENS
50. “Odyssey” sorceress : CIRCE
51. Plus : ASSET
53. Kind of D.A. : ASST
54. Diminish slowly, with “off” : WEAR
55. Líquido para café : AGUA
57. “The Cocktail Party” monogram : TSE
58. Grasped : GOT

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15 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 19 Oct 18, Friday”

  1. LAT: 9:56, no errors; I like Bill’s interpretation of the theme, and I’m surprised there wasn’t a reveal in the puzzle somewhere. Newsday: 16:00, no errors. WSJ: 21:09, with a 1-square error at the intersection of 58A and 59D (two names unfamiliar to me); meta solved and submitted (as long as “Marie Kelly” doesn’t have a trick up “her” sleeve). Croce at 4:00 … 😳.

  2. 20:14. Like Dave, I didn’t see the entire theme until Bill explained it all.

    Just to clarify – A RHOMBUS is actually any quadrilateral with all sides being the same length regardless of angle. A square is a type of RHOMBUS where the angles are at right angles. So a square is a rhombus, but a rhombus isn’t always a square….A diamond shape is a RHOMBUS where the angles are not 90 degrees..

    If anyone is interested (or even if they aren’t) Erik Agard, crossword champion solver and setter extraodinaire, is SUPPOSEDLY on Jeopardy starting today. The nasty NYT puzzle from yesterday Dave alluded to said so in its blurb on yesterday’s puzzle. Jeopardy is syndicated (I assume) so it may or may not be on exactly today depending on how the local affiliates run it, but I’ll give it a shot here. Now I just have to find out what time and channel it comes on here and set my DVR. It should be interesting.

    Best –

      1. Kool. But I just looked it up for me locally, and Jeopardy is being preempted by a Senate debate here in Nevada. Ugh. So Jeopardy isn’t on tonight here at all. It’s showing tomorrow night so maybe that will be what should have run tonight. Or maybe he’ll do well enough to be on a few nights in a row. We’ll see

        Best –

        1. I’ll get to see actually in about 15 minutes. Aagard’s in the promos for some story about getting pies in the face, so pretty definite he’ll be on there. I’ll try to not spoil it too much.

  3. I can’t believe that I actually finished this today! Almost threw the towel in but kept plugging away. Theme escaped me, but didn’t really try to figure it out anyway. Feel like I just got a A on my term paper. (Ha, ha.)

    Go Dodger’s! Hope they finish it tonight.

  4. Fairly easy Friday, for me; took about 40 minutes with no errors. I did have to fix my spelling of derel(i)cts and change SMOKie to make things fit. At some point, after figuring out the theme and getting some decent fill, it just all fell into place in 5 minutes.

    @Carrie – Well hopefully the Dodgers can pull it together tomorrow or it’ll be brats instead of Dodger Dogs. I did look them up and you guys actually put sweet relish on your dogs? Mine’ll have to be with just mustard and onions…oh and a beer. Good luck!!

  5. Hi folks!!🙃

    I GUESS I have to say I had one error: WEAN instead of WEAR, which I think fits the clue better but which left me with TEETEN. Only missed it cuz I didn’t do my usual double check, as I was so GLAD to have figured out that middle left section!! 😮 That part had me fretting!! Had UMBER before OCHER, from which I got UP HERE!! for “Words from a balcony.” ‘😀😀😀 Couldn’t remember RHOMBUS at first…Quite a mess.

    Hey Dirk!! I’m with you: mustard and onions ONLY!! I’m not one of those sweet-relish types.

    I’m afraid that the Dodgers will choke on Saturday…hate to say that!! … but those Brewers looked pretty great tonight and I’m especially scared of their bullpen. ⚾️

    Poor Miss Havisham! “Great Expectations ” is one of my favorite novels — it’s in my top 10 for certain.

    Be well ~~🎶

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